Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Research | NYU Langone Health

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Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Research

Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Research

Current research in NYU Langone’s Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy focuses on evaluating the impact of state policies and laws regulating the drug supply, access to naloxone, and access to treatment on opioid overdose. Additionally, our research extends to international approaches to drug regulations.

To carry out this work, we compiled state-level data on drug-related laws and policies, county- and zip code–level data on opioid treatment and harm reduction services, demographic characteristics, inpatient hospitalizations, and deaths. We also gather individual-level data on pharmaceutical industry marketing to physicians.

The following are brief summaries of select projects.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and Opioid-Related Harm

This project uses an empirical approach (i.e., latent transition analysis) to identify the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) best practice models that are most effective at reducing prescription opioid overdoses, and that minimize unintended consequences in illegally manufactured opioids. We are also examining whether there are sources of heterogeneous policy effects within states, notably focused on medical need for opioids, access to medication-assisted treatment, and socioeconomic characteristics in local (zip code level) areas. Read the full abstract for further details.

Principal Investigator: Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH, MPH

Health and Social Consequences of National Marijuana Legalization

The center is currently working on an impact evaluation of the health and social consequences of marijuana legalization in Uruguay.

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use, and regulate the sale, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. The Uruguayan model is different from the models currently adopted in some U.S. states in unique ways that can inform marijuana policy discussions and decisions in the United States and abroad.

In this study, we use a synthetic control group approach to compare changes in marijuana use, other types of substance use, and traffic injuries among adolescents and adults in Uruguay from 2002 to 2018, compared to a synthetic control group of regions in Chile and Argentina in the same time period. Read the full abstract for further details.

Principal Investigator: Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH, MPH

Examining the Synergistic Effects of Cannabis and Prescription Opioid Policies on Chronic Pain, Opioid Prescribing, and Opioid Overdose

This study examines the independent and joint impact of prescription opioid (PO) policies and cannabis laws on trends in chronic pain, opioid prescribing practices, opioid misuse, and overdose. We examine these trends in the U.S. population as a whole, using repeated cross-sectional data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as well as in Medicaid patients with chronic pain, using a 45-state Medicaid Analytic eXtract longitudinal cohort. By comparing these trends in states that enacted more restrictive PO policies and less restrictive cannabis laws with states that didn't enact these measures, we aim to identify the types and combinations of policies that will lead to the greatest reduction in opioid-related harm. Read the full abstract for further details.

Principal Investigator: Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH, MPH

Administrative Supplement: Examining the Synergistic Effects of Cannabis and Prescription Opioid Policies on Chronic Pain, Opioid Prescribing, and Opioid Overdose

The administrative supplement builds on the National Institutes of Health-funded parent study by pursuing two aims. The first aim is to develop a taxonomy of opioid policies that classifies states according to the type of provision enacted for each policy of interest, as well as the overall restrictiveness of policies regulating the PO supply and the expansiveness of policies regulating access to treatment for opioid use disorder. The second aim is to use machine learning to determine the types of opioid policy provisions that are the strongest predictors of opioid prescribing, initiation, misuse, and disorder. Identifying these key policy measures will inform states on which combinations of opioid policies are most effective at reducing opioid-related harm. This dataset will be made publicly available for other research teams and policymakers to use in their own work.

Principal Investigator: Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH, MPH

Preventing Overdose Using Information and Data from the Environment (PROVIDENT) Grant

Preventing Overdose Using Information and Data from the Environment, also called PROVIDENT, aims to develop a forecasting tool to identify fatal overdoses and neighborhoods at high risk of future overdose outbreaks. Through an ensemble machine learning approach, the PROVIDENT model seeks to use geospatial data on overdose fatalities in Rhode Island since 2014 to generate an overdose risk index.

The PROVIDENT model also aims to determine whether targeted interventions towards high-risk neighborhoods are more effective at reducing overdose burden than nontargeted interventions. Using PROVIDENT’s model predictions, cities and towns that are assigned to a treatment arm receive targeted interventions for neighborhoods with the highest overdose risk indices, whereas control cities and towns continue to receive nontargeted interventions in accordance with the state’s broader strategic overdose plan.

By comparing fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose rates in locations with targeted interventions with rates in control locations, this project seeks to inform how state and local resources can be allocated for the greatest reduction in overdose mortality. Additionally, the completed PROVIDENT model seeks to enable other states to identify high-risk neighborhoods and target overdose prevention efforts accordingly.

Bloomberg Opioid Initiative

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, this overdose prevention initiative aims to collaborate with government and community partners to develop, implement, evaluate, and distribute evidence-based solutions to reduce overdose deaths in states and communities that have been hard hit by the opioid crisis. Major partners in the project include Vital Strategies, The Pew Charitable Trusts, CDC Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read more about the partnership.

Principal Investigator: Noa Krawczyk, PhD

Metropolitan Trajectories of HIV Epidemics and Responses in U.S. Key Populations

Hannah L. Cooper, Samuel R. Friedman, and colleagues seek to determine how HIV/AIDS-related health outcomes and programs in one key population (KP) can affect HIV/AIDS-related health outcomes and programs in other KPs. They examine these variables in 3 KPs (men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and heterosexuals) using a longitudinal cohort of the 96 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. By comparing these variables across time and MSAs, the study aims to determine the fundamental dynamics of HIV/AIDS epidemics and to inform the development of programs and policies that can prevent HIV/AIDS transmission across KPs. Read the full abstract.

Co-Principal Investigator: Samuel R. Friedman, PhD

The Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR)

The Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) is an allied and collaborating research center with the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy that focuses on public health issues related to HIV, hepatitis C, and drug use. The center is dedicated to informing programmatic, policy, and grassroots initiatives at the local, state, national, and global levels and to training younger researchers to engage in drug use and HIV-related research. Its administrative core is based at NYU College of Global Public Health and affiliated institutions include Mount Sinai Health System and John Jay College, part of the City University of New York. Several faculty members at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy also conduct research at CDUHR, including Magdalena Cerdá, DrPh, MPH, and Samuel R. Friedman, PhD.